From Shaq to Bieber, Everyone’s Putting on a New Act

Illustration by Cierra Pedro

Illustration by Cierra Pedro

Our city’s status as a judgment-free DMZ for those desperate to reinvent themselves is well documented. This, unfortunately, has let to a curious side effect: our extraordinary tolerance for people in costume.

Or have you never tried to dodge a sad-bored Peter Criss on Fremont Street? (To be fair, that could be the actual Peter Criss.) Even our once-proudly debauched Halloween has burst at the seams, to the point where we’ve seen costumed tourists wandering the Strip in the summer heat, with nary a bag of candy corn available at the nearest Walgreen’s.

Sanctioned by the calendar or the confines of an Imperial Palace blackjack pit or not, the time to create a new temporary identity is, always, now. Shaquille O’Neal was never any stranger to the idea of reinvention. He had four albums and three movies out only six seasons into his NBA career, including all-time cinematic achievements Kazaam and Steel. “Shaquille O’Neal: Basketball dude and only basketball dude” was never exactly on the agenda.

But he found a new gear on June 27 when he did his first public DJ set at Chateau. O’Neal went on around 1 a.m. and played for about half an hour. Which doesn’t seem like enough time to spin all of Shaq Diesel, but whatever. He did say he’d love to do a Vegas residency in the future, which should immediately drive down Tiësto’s nightly booking rate, now that he has some legit competition.

Phish made an annual tradition of playing an entire album by another artist on Halloween. In 1998 they were here and did the Velvet Underground’s Loaded, for instance. They call it a “musical costume,” because that sounds better than “We forgot the 26-minute breakdown we normally do during ‘A Picture of Nectar.’” Rumor has it that Vermont’s fourth most recognizable export (after maple syrup, Ben & Jerry’s and a wary distrust of New Hampshire) will land at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for three days during Halloween. Just in time: As frontman Trey Anastasio noted of the traditional Halloween show, “The last couple of years, it started to feel like a trap we had built.

Penn & Teller got to try on the veneer of propriety June 23 when Prince Charles invited them to perform at Windsor Castle for the 40th anniversary of Chuck’s membership in the British abracadabra organization the Magic Circle. Even Justin Bieber got to pretend he wasn’t someone terrible. Three of Floyd Mayweather’s kids were involved in a car crash June 29 while Mayweather was on the red carpet for the BET Awards in Los Angeles. So according to reports, Bieber picked the kids up from the scene of the accident and brought them to Mayweather at the Nokia Theatre.

But the best costume of all came courtesy of, a Vegas-based website that specializes in what can only be described as “porn-comedy.” It’s masterminded by Lee Roy Myers, the director behind The Honeymoaners, A Wet Dream on Elm Street, The Human Sexipede and, of course, Game of Bones. WoodRocket paid tribute to Las Vegas’ most prone-to-hang-out-backstage-with-Guns N’ Roses resident, Nic Cage, by dressing up a pair of models, Tabitha Stevens and Vuko in multiple Cage costumes (including those from Raising Arizona and Peggy Sue Got Married), and then posting pictures of them getting down to their national treasures. (You know: with their clothes/off.) Can Kick-Bare-Ass be far behind?

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Fear and Resentment Among the Gluten-Free


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In my experience, people who can’t eat gluten stick together. One evening in my senior year of college, I bonded with a girl at a party after we proclaimed ourselves gluten-free. However, sometime deep in the night, I watched her arm swing drunkenly through the air and plunge into a bowl of pretzels. I lunged across the table and grabbed her, rescuing her from a night of intestinal agony, or worse.